Encapsulates the bravery, intrigue, and compassion that defined a generation, presenting a history that everyone should...

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MEMPHIS, MARTIN, AND THE MOUNTAINTOP

THE SANITATION STRIKE OF 1968

Fifty years on, readers reminisce with a young black girl who recalls how black sanitation workers launched a movement for equal rights and safer working conditions and stayed committed to justice amid tragic loss.

Basing her story on the true accounts of Dr. Almella Starks-Umoja, Duncan creates 9-year-old Lorraine Jackson to tell the full story of the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968. The story begins not with the entrance of Martin Luther King, who would arrive in March, but in January, when the tragic deaths of two black garbagemen due to old, malfunctioning equipment added to calls for change. The author’s choice to not focus on the singular efforts of King but on the dedicated efforts of community signals a deeply important lesson for young readers. Strong historical details back up the organizing feat: “In the morning and afternoon, for sixty-five days, sanitation workers marched fourteen blocks through the streets of downtown Memphis.” The narrative is set in vignettes that jump between verse and prose, set against Christie’s bold paintings. Lorraine learns that “Dreamers never quit” after reminiscing on what would be Dr. King’s final lecture, delivered on April 3. The struggle doesn’t end with King’s death but continues with the spotlight cast by Coretta Scott King on the sanitation workers’ demands. “Freedom is never free,” Lorraine notes before closing with the thought that it remains our mission to “Climb up the MOUNTAINTOP!”

Encapsulates the bravery, intrigue, and compassion that defined a generation, presenting a history that everyone should know: required and inspired. (Picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62979-718-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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An astute educator or parent can use this book to start important conversations about Canada’s history and its people.

MAKING CANADA HOME

HOW IMMIGRANTS SHAPED THIS COUNTRY

Just in time for the 150th anniversary of Canada, Hughes traces the history and impact of immigration in the country.

The book’s organization, design, and photography are clear and accessible, with insets and sidebars adding variety to the content, making this a valuable addition to classrooms and libraries. Guidance from educators or parents may be necessary to ensure the young readers’ comprehension, as the text is uneven with regard to what the author explains. Selected words are defined (“abolished” means “ended,” for instance), while major concepts are not (why are immigrants considered a source of cheap labor?). Hughes emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the injustice inherent to Canada's founding and its subsequent immigration policies in both the introduction and conclusion—but she obscures rather than elucidates this aspect of history in some sections about Aboriginal peoples and black immigrants while expanding on it in others. The text relies heavily on ironic quotation marks, forcing young readers to deduce what isn’t written. By contrast, the author more explicitly explains discrimination and repression that others commit, as in the new United States’ oppression of Loyalists, or for which Canada has apologized, as in the turning away of the Komagata Maru and its would-be South Asian immigrants.

An astute educator or parent can use this book to start important conversations about Canada’s history and its people. (timeline, immigration laws, statistics, further reading, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77147-202-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A broadly diverse roster of role models.

KID ACTIVISTS

TRUE TALES OF CHILDHOOD FROM CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE

From the Kid Legends series

Introductions to iconic world changers of the present and recent past who stood up for racial justice and human rights.

Most of the 16 main figures are or should be familiar to young readers, but along with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Dolores Huerta, and Rosa Parks, Stevenson lays out early experiences and influences for some less-high-profile names: There’s gay politician Harvey Milk, for instance, transgender activist Janet Mock, and formerly enslaved child advocate Iqbal Masih, assassinated at the age of 12. In between the main profiles, the author slips briefer ones of associates, such as Mama Sisulu for Nelson Mandela and, for Milk, nods to the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, both early gay and lesbian organizations. Only a few are or were true “kid activists,” but the reminder that they all started out as children may make them and their causes seem accessible, and the preponderance of smiling faces in Steinfeld’s frequent, neatly drawn cartoon vignettes keeps the hardships and violence that many of them experienced safely distant. From Martin Luther “Little Mike” King’s “When I grow up I’m going to get me some big words” to 10-year-old Anishinaabe activist Autumn Peltier’s standing before the United Nations with the demand to “warrior up” in defense of clean water for all, their stories offer inspiration as well as memorable moments.

A broadly diverse roster of role models. (bibliography, index) (Collective biography. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68369-141-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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